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2nd White Coat Ceremony Organized for PharmD Students
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The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (FPPS) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on last October 12, organized its second White Coat Ceremony for the present batch of 5th year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students under theme ““IMPACT OF THE PHARM D PHARMACIST ON PHARMACEUTICAL CARE”,

Delivering the welcome address, Pharm. Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, Dean, FPPS, recognized the contributions of parents of these students. “We feel completely honored by your presence and acknowledge the sacrifices you have made and continue to make as parents and guardians to get these students to this point of their education”.  

According Prof. Dickson, the ceremony was staged to mark the transition of the students from theoretical to the clinical phases of their pharmacy training, adding, “Undoubtedly, this event highlights, the importance of Scientific Scholarship and emphasizes the highest principles of moral, ethical and unique responsibilities being entrusted to them in their training.” Whilst noting that the event was part of a broader vision to realign the training of pharmacy students from a supply-oriented one to a patient-centered approach, she also expressed optimism that the students were going to live up to the expectation placed on them. She advised the students to each identify and develop his/her unique skill and talent.

Pharm. Benjamin K. Botwe, the President of the PSGH and Acting Rector of the Ghana College of Pharmacists (GCPharm), who delivered the keynote address for the ceremony took the audience through the historical evolution of pharmacy training in the country over the last seven (7) decades. He also reaffirmed that such a progressive evolution was rightly in accordance with the global paradigm of shifting the focus of pharmacists from products to patients. The President further remarked that “pharmaceutical care” required pharmacist to work alongside other healthcare providers in order to attain the therapeutic goals for patients. “Thus, with the implementation of pharmaceutical care concept, the pharmacist can improve patient outcomes, prevent drug-related morbidity and mortality, reduce adverse drug reactions (ADRs), reduce length of hospital stays and significantly reduce health-care cost,” adding that the PharmD program which immersed students into an extensive undergraduate clinical training provided the right approach towards the concept of pharmaceutical care.

Rev. Pharm. Prof. Charles Ansah, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university and former dean of the FPPS, who also delivered a speech, noted the contributions of past deans of the faculty as well as other key stakeholders of pharmacy training in the country. According to him, the university’s decision to transition from the 4-year Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) to the current 6-year PharmD program was to ensure that products of the faculty were equipped with the required competencies and skills to “perform as effective members of the healthcare team.”

Whilst admitting that the faculty had faced infrastructural problems at the initial stages of the transition, he applauded the progress achieved so far. He argued that the FPPS had the best pharmacy practice labs in the sub region. In addition, he revealed that an ultramodern reading room had been commissioned to facilitate the learning experience of the students, and that there were plans to expand and enrich the library of the faculty.

Prof. Ansah concluded his speech by assuring members of the faculty of support from the university’s management team towards the success of the PharmD program.

The White Coat Ceremony is a symbolic event in which 5th year PharmD students of KNUST are cloaked in their white coats by faculty, pharmacy alumni, mentors, preceptors, role models, senior colleagues and parents, to usher them into their clinical years of training, service and care. KNUST FPPS is the premier pharmacy training institution and the first to start running the PharmD course in the country. The PSGH played a key advocacy role to facilitate efforts which led to the start of the program, one of which included, the levying of members of the PSGH to provide some funds required in starting the course at the university.